The Last Stand by Nathaniel Philbrick
Custer, Sitting Bull, and the Battle of the Little Bighorn

68%

16 Critic Reviews

...Mr. Philbrick’s highly deliberate, on-one-hand, on-the-other-hand approach to Custer isn’t terribly persuasive.
-NY Times

Synopsis

 

 

The bestselling author of In the Heart of the Sea (Winner of the National Book Award) the forthcoming Valiant Ambition (May 2016), sheds new light on one of the iconic stories of the American West

Little Bighorn and Custer are names synonymous in the American imagination with unmatched bravery and spectacular defeat. Mythologized as Custer's Last Stand, the June 1876 battle has been equated with other famous last stands, from the Spartans' defeat at Thermopylae to Davy Crockett at the Alamo.

In his tightly structured narrative, Nathaniel Philbrick brilliantly sketches the two larger-than-life antagonists: Sitting Bull, whose charisma and political savvy earned him the position of leader of the Plains Indians, and George Armstrong Custer, one of the Union's greatest cavalry officers and a man with a reputation for fearless and often reckless courage. Philbrick reminds readers that the Battle of the Little Bighorn was also, even in victory, the last stand for the Sioux and Cheyenne Indian nations. Increasingly outraged by the government's Indian policies, the Plains tribes allied themselves and held their ground in southern Montana. Within a few years of Little Bighorn, however, all the major tribal leaders would be confined to Indian reservations.

Throughout, Philbrick beautifully evokes the history and geography of the Great Plains with his characteristic grace and sense of drama. The Last Stand is a mesmerizing account of the archetypal story of the American West, one that continues to haunt our collective imagination.




From the Hardcover edition.
 

About Nathaniel Philbrick

See more books from this Author
NATHANIEL PHILBRICK is the bestselling author of Mayflower, In the Heart of the Sea, and Sea of Glory. He lives in Nantucket.
 
Published May 4, 2010 by Penguin Books. 496 pages
Genres: History, War, Biographies & Memoirs, Self Help. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for The Last Stand
All: 16 | Positive: 11 | Negative: 5

Kirkus

Above average

A stirring, perceptive retelling of an endless fascinating battle.

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NY Times

Below average
on Jun 03 2010

...Mr. Philbrick’s highly deliberate, on-one-hand, on-the-other-hand approach to Custer isn’t terribly persuasive.

Read Full Review of The Last Stand: Custer, Sitti... | See more reviews from NY Times

WSJ online

Good
on Jun 18 2010

...the author focuses successfully on fashioning a carefully historical account that is also a ripping good yarn.

Read Full Review of The Last Stand: Custer, Sitti... | See more reviews from WSJ online

Kirkus

Above average
on Dec 13 2010

Nathaniel Philbrick steps onto dry land with his vivid account of the Battle of Little Big Horn and the many missteps and personality clashes that led to it.

Read Full Review of The Last Stand: Custer, Sitti... | See more reviews from Kirkus

LA Times

Excellent
on May 30 2010

"The Last Stand" is an engrossing, thoughtfully researched and tautly written account of a critical chapter in American history. With strong narrative skill, offering broad context and narrow detail, Philbrick...dismantles old myths piece by piece.

Read Full Review of The Last Stand: Custer, Sitti... | See more reviews from LA Times

The Telegraph

Above average
on Aug 06 2010

Philbrick’s account of the battle captures the experiences of ordinary soldiers like Thompson and the Lakota warriors. He draws together those static and disconnected images and adds much supplementary evidence to construct a masterly narrative.

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Christian Science Monitor

Below average
on May 05 2010

While offering interesting tidbits, tedious minutiae and irrelevant details bog down what could be a riveting narrative.

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Suite 101

Above average
Reviewed by Michael Winston on Aug 30 2010

While certainly not the definitive work, overall a very good, easily followed, albeit short but entertaining description of the event. A good place to start.

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Suite 101

Excellent
on Jun 04 2010

Author Nathaniel Philbrick spent four years researching and visiting the site of the Battle of the Little Bighorn, and it shows in his detailed, mesmerizing book, The Last Stand.

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Dallas News

Below average
on May 16 2010

There are too many moments, the Thompson section among them, when Philbrick writes like an author trying to explain too much to certain readers who aren't going to accept his explanations anyway.

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Oregon Live

Good
on May 22 2010

..."The Last Stand," told with grace, empathy and haunting beauty, is a fitting tribute to those who played a part in what would prove to be a tragic day for both sides.

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Review (Barnes & Noble)

Below average
on May 03 2010

Experts may find more to quarrel with here than I did. But even if Philbrick has everything right, that doesn't make The Last Stand the "definitive" book on the Little Bighorn, any more than Connell's was.

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MostlyFiction Book Reviews

Good
on May 03 2010

Masterfully organized and engagingly written, this is a history for anyone who enjoyed Philbrick’s previous books...

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The Pacific Northwest Inlander

Good
on Sep 29 2010

Philbrick is a tireless researcher who draws together the many strands of this episode and synthesizes them into a clear and powerful narrative.

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Chicago Tribune

Good
on May 04 2010

This book's most lasting impression is of immediacy, strangeness, danger and doom, which Philbrick brings out in every rock, cloud, blade of grass and mountain range.

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ChicagoMag.com

Above average
on Aug 03 2010

Philbrick tells this often told tale well, his virtues as a storyteller and historian ably backed by 18 excellent maps, nearly 100 pages of dense but lively notes, and a splendid bibliography.

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Reader Rating for The Last Stand
81%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 1961 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


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